PARAGUAY – Child who was pregnant following sexual abuse dies from complications of delivery

The death of a 14-year-old rape victim who has died during childbirth in Paraguay has been in all the news media there.
A 37-year-old man who lives in the same building as the girl’s family, who is accused of raping and impregnating the girl, was apparently arrested only on 22 March 2018, according to Ricardo González Borgne, head of the National Secretariat for Children and Adolescents. “In 70% percent of cases, sexual abuse in Paraguay comes from inside the family, e.g. a stepfather, uncle, brother, grandfather. This is one of the most disturbing features. It is a cultural issue [sic] that relates to the theme of education and strengthening the rights of children,” said Borgne.
In May 2015, we published the story of a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being abused by her stepfather and was refused an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which made the news. This girl survived childbirth, but according to Amnesty International (quoted in the Guardian last week) she has not yet received the housing that the government promised to give her at the time.
According to an article we published in 2013, in 2009 a quarter of the women for whom there are records who presented to a hospital with complications after an abortion were less than 20 years old, and almost a third of maternal deaths were in young women aged 15-24 years old. These figures are considered as only the most visible part of the problem, being from deaths that were recorded in the health statistics system.
The latest data from the Ministry of Health, from a survey of reproductive health issues in childhood, including adolescent pregnancy, showed that about 15% of the women who gave birth in Paraguay did so at least once before the age of 18 years.

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